Lussekatter (Lucia saffron buns) are traditionally eaten on the day of Lucia. Each bun is shaped into an S-shape, which is supposed to resemble a cat’s tail. Nobody knows for sure the origins of the shape and the connection with Saint Lucia, but it seems likely that they were originally called djävulskatter (the devil’s cats). I think it’s just another excuse for a celebration.
The enriched sweet dough is very popular in Scandinavia and especially at Christmas with the addition of saffron. The dough is silky smooth and very easy to a handle.
Lucia Saffron Buns (Lussekatter
Yield 16-18 Buns
- 1g saffron threads
- 1/2 Tbls boiling water
- 30 g yeast
- 90 g sugar
- 300 ml milk
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 90g butter, diced and at room temperature
- a pinch of salt
- 560 g plain flour
- 36 raisins
- Place the saffron threads with the salt in a mortar and grind with the pestle, pour over the boiling water and leave to stand for at least 10 minutes. Place the raisins in bowl, pour some hot water over them and then leave them until required.
- Sift the flour and pour into a stand-mixer bowl, stir in the sugar. Pour the saffron into the milk and heat in a saucepan to 38C add the yeast and stir.
- Fit the dough hook to your stand-mixer and with the machine running on minimum slowly add the milk mixture, then add half of the egg and finally the diced butter, reserving the rest of the egg for glazing.
- Mix for 5- 6 minutes or until the dough is silky and shiny.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Clean out the bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm draught-free place for 30-45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
- Tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knock it back a couple of times. Divide into 16 pieces, approximately 65g and 70g each.
- Roll out each piece so that it is about 30 cm (12") long and curl into tight S shapes. Place each piece on a lined or greased baking sheet, cover loosely and leave for about 30 minutes until doubled in size again. Preheat the oven to 220°C fan 190°C.
*I split this recipe, I used half to make Lussekatter and the other half I made round buns, baked them, then brushed with melted butter and ground cardamon mixed with golden caster sugar, really delicious!